Seamounts represent ecologically important marine environments and undeniably play a crucial role in the functioning of the deep-sea ecosystems, thanks primarily to their contribution in supporting offshore benthic and pelagic biodiversity. In the last decades, these features have received attention in all oceans of the world, but they were relatively overlooked in the Mediterranean Sea. In particular, the Ligurian Sea hosts six major structures, whose summits, ranging from 150 to nearly 2000 m depth, are virtually unknown from the biological point of view. The summit region of the Janua Seamount, located approximately at 30 nautical miles off the harbour of Genoa at 810 m depth, was explored for the first time using Remotely Operated Vehicles. The sea bed topography is characterized by a heterogeneous hard bottom, dominated by sub-fossil thanatocoenoses of Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus, 1758) covered in a thick Ferrous-Manganese crust, and colonized by a scattered bathyal assemblage dominated by hexactinellids and benthic cnidarians showing a distinct regionalization around the summit. Cnidarians observed in this site include a rare Atlantic bamboo coral (Isididae, Chelidonisis aurantiaca Studer, 1890), described herein for the first time for the Mediterranean Basin. These findings provide new information on the biogeographic patterns of colonization of the bathyal Mediterranean fauna but also highlight the large knowledge gap that still exists for deep-sea biodiversity of this basin.

Unveiling the deep biodiversity of the Janua Seamount (Ligurian Sea): first Mediterranean sighting of the rare Atlantic bamboo coral Chelidonisis aurantiaca Studer, 1890

Marzia Bo;Martina Coppari;Federico Betti;Francesco Massa;Riccardo Cattaneo-Vietti;Giorgio Bavestrello
2020

Abstract

Seamounts represent ecologically important marine environments and undeniably play a crucial role in the functioning of the deep-sea ecosystems, thanks primarily to their contribution in supporting offshore benthic and pelagic biodiversity. In the last decades, these features have received attention in all oceans of the world, but they were relatively overlooked in the Mediterranean Sea. In particular, the Ligurian Sea hosts six major structures, whose summits, ranging from 150 to nearly 2000 m depth, are virtually unknown from the biological point of view. The summit region of the Janua Seamount, located approximately at 30 nautical miles off the harbour of Genoa at 810 m depth, was explored for the first time using Remotely Operated Vehicles. The sea bed topography is characterized by a heterogeneous hard bottom, dominated by sub-fossil thanatocoenoses of Lophelia pertusa (Linnaeus, 1758) covered in a thick Ferrous-Manganese crust, and colonized by a scattered bathyal assemblage dominated by hexactinellids and benthic cnidarians showing a distinct regionalization around the summit. Cnidarians observed in this site include a rare Atlantic bamboo coral (Isididae, Chelidonisis aurantiaca Studer, 1890), described herein for the first time for the Mediterranean Basin. These findings provide new information on the biogeographic patterns of colonization of the bathyal Mediterranean fauna but also highlight the large knowledge gap that still exists for deep-sea biodiversity of this basin.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/990779
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